Blogs from Oxford Dictionaries for Children

Browse our blogs on children’s language:

Children's Word of the Year 2016: refugee

Our Children’s Dictionaries department have announced the Children’s Word of the Year for 2016: refugee........

Shakespeare 400

We’re taking a break from our A-Z as today marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. To commemorate this special day, we are sharing an interesting extract from the Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary........

The A-Z of Shakespeare 

Throughout April we will be bringing you an A-Z of Shakespearean words, taken from the brilliant Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary. Every day we will be guiding you through some of the most interesting words and definitions from the dictionary, one letter at a time!........

The Vital Spark: dictionaries and creative writing

I love dictionaries and thesauruses: they’re dazzling and thrilling and useful. I own a ridiculously large number (seven currently on my desk, though most of them are downstairs). I use them, for work and pleasure, all the time.

But now Vineeta Gupta, Head of Oxford Children’s Dictionaries, has asked me a question about them that’s completely baffled me........

500 words: stories from a wider world

The BBC Radio 2 500 WORDS competition, run by the Chris Evans Breakfast Show, asks children aged 5-13 to compose an original work of fiction in no more than 500 words........

Inspiration Station

A bank-robbing banana being chased by a police pigeon, an accident-prone spy with the nickname Double Oh No!, a crime-fighting baby who googles for clues… These are just a few of the fantastic ideas that children have come up with when I’ve visited schools to talk about writing stories........

Shakespeare's false friends

False friends (‘faux amis’) are words in one language which look the same as words in another. We therefore think that their meanings are the same, and get a shock when we find they are not........

How do we decide which words to include in our children’s dictionaries?

Compiling a small dictionary for children is never easy – so many words competing for space in a book with a finite number of pages. Animals and plants, clothing, fruits and vegetables, musical instruments, body parts, animal noises........

Ben Crystal: I am a lucky man

I’m a lucky man. I’ve travelled the full spectrum of Shakespeare appreciation. I’ve now played Hamlet, Macbeth, and Pericles, spoken his Sonnets, written books about him, and directed his plays, but I hated Shakespeare in school........

Making writing fun with the Oxford Children’s Colour Dictionary

Charlie Higson, Andy Stanton, Jeremy Strong, Jacqueline Wilson are all well-known names in the world of children’s fiction today but not normally found in a children’s dictionary. The Oxford Children’s Colour Dictionary has this unique and exciting feature – all of these authors have written for it........

Spell with Pip: a fun new app to help children practise their spelling

There are lots of quirks in the English language which make it tricky for children to spell words correctly. Here at OUP our Children’s Dictionaries team has a huge database of children’s writing, so they can spot exactly the kind of spellings children often struggle with........

The Language Time-Machine

Have you got a tabby cat? Brown or grey with dark stripes? If you have, do you know why it’s called a tabby? If not, you could guess a thousand times and never find the reason........

Can you spell as well as an 11-year-old? Test your spelling, punctuation and grammar knowledge!

Curriculum changes mean that both Primary and Secondary schools are renewing their focus on spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

For primary schools, from summer 2013 year 6 children will sit an English grammar, punctuation, and spelling test, which will assess each child’s English skills in four key areas: Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling, and Vocabulary........


Exploring children’s language: the BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition and the Oxford Children’s Corpus

Today marks the start of this year’s BBC Radio 2 500 Words competition, run by the Chris Evans Breakfast Show. The competition asks children aged 13 or under to compose an original work of fiction of 500 words........

Lol or pulchritudinous: which words do children really use in their writing?

Fingers on your buzzers, please. Which of the following would you expect children today to use in their writing: gr8, lol, apotropaic, caliginous, cerulean?........

28 million words, one corpus, and thousands of fascinating insights

Have you ever been told as a child to ‘stop daydreaming’ and pay attention? Then you will be interested to know that daydreaming is a word that is invariably used in a negative context by adults but in a much more positive sense by children........

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